Saturday, 14 January 2012

Lactose free?

Do any of my regular, or passing, readers have any experience with lactose intolerance? 

Midget Gem has been suffering with a runny bottom for some weeks - since we were all struck down with a vicious V&D bug - and we'd tried all kinds of trial and error solutions before admitting defeat and visiting a doctor: she confirmed what we'd suspected (following the trial and explosive, smelly error) by saying she thought it was lactose intolerance.

I breastfed him until a few months ago - when he was between nine and ten months - and during that time he never had any problems. From six months he was eating dairy products - cheese, butter, yogurts - with no problems. He occasionally had a runnier than usual bum but he's a baby, and they just do sometimes, so we never thought much of it. 

Occasionally he'd wake in the night crying with trapped wind, but his brother did that sometimes too - so we didn't think anything of that either - just gave him a massage, winded him, gave him infacol and gripe water and comforted him. 

A little before Christmas we all got the bug - an awful, violent 24 hour attack on the body that left each of us considerably lighter and sore! 

Since then he suffered far more often and barely a day went by where his nappies weren't explosive, smelly, liquid and uncomfortable for him! 

I feel guilty because on days where he seemed most uncomfortable I was giving him 'easy to digest' foods, which often included yogurts, which were actually making him more uncomfortable - but I didn't realise! 

The doctor suggested all kinds of alternatives and since we've cut out lactose for him he's much better - he's sleeping better, gaining weight again and altogether back to his cheeky, super cheerful self. 


The theory is that he was always a little intolerent to lactose but the protection from my breastfeeding tided him over so that the small amounts he was getting weren't causing too many problems - until the bug stripped his gut of the good bacteria that were just keeping him on the right side of the balance - once those were gone his little body just couldn't quite cope with the lactose. 

He isn't allergic, luckily - just intolerant, which means that if he gets some from somewhere (either pilfering his brother's snacks or if he's given something dairy based by someone when we're not with him) he'll cope, he might be a little uncomfortable but we have medication and we know how to manage now. 

The doctor said to re-introduce lactose in a couple of months when he's had chance to build up the balance in his gut again. In the meantime we have lactose free formula (which is hella pricy!) lacto-free milk in the fridge for his breakfast cereal and snacks, and for making pasta sauces etc, and rice milk as an alternative (which is scrummy, actually!).

She said to avoid soya milk, which I do anyway because the whole idea of it is slightly evil to me, and he seems to really enjoy his lacto-free alternatives.

Apparently it's not suitable for those with actual allergies - but for anyone with a lactose intolerance I strongly recommend the lacto-free options for your dairy - it's basically milk with an enzyme added that 'digests' the lactose before you ingest it. I'm trying not to think about that too much.

You can get lacto-free cheese, yogurt, all sorts - so we're stocking up for our little Midget Gem, and all making an effort to cook more dairy free meals so we can all share the same dish as normal.

It's probably going to improve all of our health! 

Have you or your children had any issues with lactose? I'd love to hear someone else's story and ideas on alternatives.

A coin? Really? A COIN?!

The toddler is a toddler. That's an obvious statement - but I needed to point it out so that I remembered why he does stupid things. 

Stupid things like putting a coin in his mouth when I ask what's in his hand. Like throwing himself backwards onto the floor when I said to spit it out. 

Like inhaling the sodding coin when I tried to catch him! 

Yep. That right there, that's terror. He choked and panicked - watching his total inability to breathe whilst he made terrified eye contact made me want to vomit. I don't think either of us have ever felt so scared, ever. 

Before I had chance to think I was pounding on his back and pushing his belly (I have no idea whether this was right or wrong) to make him cough/sick to shift the coin.

He was sick - but there was no sign of the coin.

Do you have any idea how revolting it is, sifting through nappies to find a coin?